Animal advocates fight for stronger animal protection laws

A recent case of animal cruelty has heightened awareness for the Mississippi Animal Advocacy group about the need for tougher laws against cruelty to animals.

Though progress is being made, Mississippi still ranks near the bottom when it comes to animal protection.

A five to seven year old Great Pyrenees named Winchester was found shot twice in a field off of Morriston Road near Petal on Monday, Jan. 21. He had apparently been laying there for more than two days when he was discovered.

Staff from the Southern Pines Animal Shelter were called in to assist in the rescue. The dog was taken to the Town and Country Animal Hospital where it went under surgery. Though his condition was closely guarded following the surgery and he is still healing, he is expected to make a full recovery.

"He is absolutely a true survivor. I'm amazed that he actually survived as long as he did," said Katherine Sammons, Southern Pines Animal Shelter Assistant Manager.

It's cases like this and other acts of animal cruelty that has the Animal Advocacy group calling for tougher laws to protect animals. A recent report by the Humane Society of the United States shows Mississippi ranks 49th in the country in the protection of animals.

"There is progress being made," said Sammons. We have been able to get two bills introduced to the senate. Senate Bill 2256 would ban the euthanasia gas chamber and Senate Bill 2191 would band roadside sales of animals."

Later in February the group will have an opportunity to address lawmakers about their concerns. To prepare for that meeting the group is gathering at the Keg and Barrel on Hardy Street at 6 p.m. Wednesday.

"We just encourage everyone to come out even if you can't go to the capital in February," Sammons added. "There's always something you can do like send an email or make a phone call."

In the mean time, Sammons says they very much want to find the person responsible for shooting the dog. Anyone with information can call Southern Pines or the Forrest County Sheriff's Department.

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